I wasn’t quite sure why, unlike most people, I didn’t really like The Descendants. (see this article that predicts that the movie will win the Golden Globes).  Then I saw the Wikipedia article that states “Matt learns that Elizabeth will never awaken from her coma, which means that under the terms of her living will she must be disconnected shortly from life support.” It’s a faulty premise.

I’m here to promise you that no one can be forced to disconnect your life support because your living will says so.  It’s unfair to blame the document for that sort of decision.  It was a simply an expression of Elizabeth’s wishes of how she would like her life to end.  Her doctors and the hospital would also have input into that decision.

In New York, a living will is not a legal document, it is an expression of your health care desires if you are unable to express those wishes yourself, if you are in a coma or perhaps in an advanced state of Alzheimer’s.   In New York, you should also sign a health care proxy, that nominates a person who will actually make those decisions for you.  The person you nominate to serve as your proxy can make real time decisions about real situations; not just advance decisions about hypothetical situations.  Those decisions will hopefully be framed by the wishes you expressed in your living will.

No one is “pulling the plug” because of the terms of your living will.  Don’t let fear stop you from signing the most important health care directives:  Your health care proxy, living will and power of attorney.  Even if George Clooney used to play a doctor on TV.



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